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Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

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by Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell, John Schoeffel, John Schoeffel

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ISBN-10: 1565847032

ISBN-13: 9781565847033

Pub. Date: 02/28/2002

Publisher: New Press, The

Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky’s recent talks on the past, present, and future of


Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky’s recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power.

In a series of enlightening and wide-ranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky radically reinterprets the events of the past three decades, covering topics from foreign policy during Vietnam to the decline of welfare under the Clinton administration. And as he elucidates the connection between America’s imperialistic foreign policy and the decline of domestic social services, Chomsky also discerns the necessary steps to take toward social change. With an eye to political activism and the media’s role in popular struggle, as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Understanding Power offers a sweeping critique of the world around us and is definitive Chomsky.

Characterized by Chomsky’s accessible and informative style, this is the ideal book for those new to his work as well as for those who have been listening for years.

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New Press, The
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Table of Contents

Editors' Prefacexi
A Note on the Events of September 11, 2001xiii
Chapter 1Weekend Teach-In: Opening Session1
The Achievements of Domestic Dissidence1
The U.S. Network of Terrorist Mercenary States4
Overthrowing Third World Governments6
Government Secrecy10
The Media: An Institutional Analysis12
Testing the "Propaganda Model"15
The Media and Elite Opinion18
Filters on Reporting24
Honest Subordination30
"Fight it Better": the Media and the Vietnam War31
Chapter 2Teach-In: Over Coffee37
"Containing" the Soviet Union in the Cold War37
Orwell's World and Ours41
Contemporary Poverty45
Religious Fanaticism50
"The Real Anti-Semitism"51
Ronald Reagan and the Future of Democracy53
Two New Factors in World Affairs58
Democracy Under Capitalism60
The Empire64
Change and the Future67
Chapter 3Teach-In: Evening70
The Military-Industrial Complex70
The Permanent War Economy73
Libyan and American Terrorism77
The U.S. and the U.N.84
Business, Apartheid, and Racism88
Winning the Vietnam War90
"Genocide": the United States and Pol Pot92
Heroes and Anti-Heroes93
Spectator Sports98
Western European Activism and Canada101
Dispelling Illusions103
Chapter 4Colloquy106
The Totalitarian Strain106
A Lithuania Hypothetical109
Perpetuating Brainwashing Under Freedom111
Journalism LeMoyne-Style: A Sample of the Cynical Aspect115
Rethinking Watergate117
Escaping Indoctrination120
Understanding the Middle East Conflict123
The Threat of Peace126
Water and the Occupied Territories129
Imperial Ambitions and the Arab Threat131
Prospects for the Palestinians134
Legitimacy in History135
Qualifications to Speak on World Affairs; A Presidential Campaign137
Chapter 5Ruling the World140
Soviet Versus Western Economic Development140
Supporting Terror144
"People's Democratic Socialist Republics"145
The Organ Trade146
The Real Crime of Cuba148
Panama and Popular Invasions151
Muslims and U.S. Foreign Policy154
Haiti: Disturbance at an Export Platform155
Texaco and the Spanish Revolution159
Averting Democracy in Italy160
P.R. in Somalia163
The Gulf War165
Bosnia: Intervention Questions171
Toying With India172
The Oslo Agreement and Imperialist Revival174
Chapter 6Community Activists177
Discussion Circle177
The Early Peace Movement and a Change in the 1970s180
The Nuclear Freeze Movement184
Awareness and Actions186
Leaders and Movements188
Levels of Change189
Transcending Capitalism195
The Kibbutz Experiment196
"Anarchism" and "Libertarianism"199
Articulating Visions201
"Want" Creation203
Dissidents: Ignored or Vilified204
Teaching About Resistance211
Science and Human Nature214
Charlatans in the Sciences217
Adam Smith: Real and Fake221
The Computer and the Crowbar223
Chapter 7Intellectuals and Social Change224
The Leninist/Capitalist Intelligentsia224
Marxist "Theory" and Intellectual Fakery227
Ideological Control in the Sciences and Humanities231
The Function of the Schools233
Subtler Methods of Control238
Cruder Methods of Control242
The Fate of an Honest Intellectual244
Forging Working-Class Culture248
The Fraud of Modern Economics251
The Real Market255
A Revolutionary Change in Moral Values260
Chapter 8Popular Struggle267
Discovering New Forms of Oppression267
Freedom of Speech268
Negative and Positive Freedoms272
Cyberspace and Activism276
"Free Trade" Agreements280
Defense Department Funding and "Clean Money"284
The Favored State and Enemy States286
Canada's Media288
Should Quebec Separate from Canada?291
Deciphering "China"282
Indonesia's Killing Fields: U.S.-Backed Genocide in East Timor294
Mass Murderers at Harvard298
Changes in Indonesia299
Nuclear Proliferation and North Korea301
The Samson Option303
The Lot of the Palestinians305
P.L.O. Ambitions310
The Nation-State System313
Chapter 9Movement Organizing318
The Movie Manufacturing Consent318
Media Activism323
Self-Destruction of the U.S. Left326
Popular Education331
Third-Party Politics333
"A Praxis"339
The War on Unions339
Inner-City Schools342
Defending the Welfare State344
Pension Funds and the Law346
Conspiracy Theories348
The Decision to Get Involved351
"Human Nature Is Corrupt"355
Discovering Morality356
Moral Values359
Chapter 10Turning Point363
Bringing the Third World Home363
Welfare: the Pea and the Mountain367
Crime Control and "Superfluous" People370
Violence and Repression373
International Capital: the New Imperial Age377
The Fairy Tale Economy382
Building International Unions383
Initial Moves and the Coming Crisis387
Elite Planning--Slipping Out of Hand390
Disturbed Populations Stirring395
The Verge of Fascism398
The Future of History400

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Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This really is the "indispensable" Chomsky. I would recommend this to anyone interested in hearing Chomsky's ideas, or even those who have read him before. Just a great collection, an easy read (Q&A format)and a true beacon of hope.